Parts Used & Where Grown
Like its more familiar cousin Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng), the root of American ginseng is used medicinally. The plant grows wild in shady forests of the northern and central United States, as well as in parts of Canada. It is cultivated in the United States, China, and France.
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For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.
This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Common Cold and Sore Throat
400 mg per day of a freeze-dried extract
In a double-blind study, supplementing with American ginseng significantly reduced the number of colds that people experienced over a four-month period.
In a double-blind study, supplementation with significantly reduced by 27% the number of colds that people experienced over a four-month period, compared with a placebo. The amount used in this study was 400 mg per day of a freeze-dried extract.
Type 2 Diabetes
1 gram three times daily
Supplementing with American ginseng may help improve blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
Numerous clinical trials indicate American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may improve insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. Results from a placebo-controlled crossover study show a beneficial effect of 3 grams of American ginseng extract per day in participants with type 2 diabetes: eight weeks of treatment resulted in reductions in HgbA1c, fasting blood glucose levels, blood pressures, and LDL-cholesterol levels compared to placebo. In a twelve-week placebo-controlled trial that included 64 participants with type 2 diabetes and related high blood pressure, 3 grams of American ginseng per day resulted in decreased blood vessel stiffness and lower blood pressure. A typical dose used in clinical trials and found to be safe in those with type 2 diabetes is 1 gram three times daily. Some American ginseng extracts are standardized for their ginsenoside content.
Refer to label instructions
Asian ginseng has been associated with improved athletic performance, though findings have been inconsistent. Its cousin, American ginseng, was found ineffective at improving endurance exercise performance in untrained people after one week. It is possible that different amounts and durations might affect results.
Extensive but often poorly designed studies have been conducted on the use of Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) to improve athletic performance.While some early controlled studies suggested there might be benefits, several recent double-blind trials have found no significant effects of Asian ginseng on endurance exercise.In many studies, it is possible that ginseng was used in insufficient amounts or for an inadequate length of time; a more effective regimen for enhancing endurance performance may be 2 grams of powdered root per day or 200 to 400 mg per day of an extract standardized for 4% ginsenosides, taken for eight to twelve weeks.Short-term intense exercise has also not been helped by Asian ginseng according to double-blind trials, but one controlled study reported increased pectoral and quadricep muscle strength in non-exercising men and women after taking 1 gram per day of Asian ginseng for six weeks.
An extract of a related plant, American Gingseng (Panax quinquefolius), was found ineffective at improving endurance exercise performance in untrained people after one week’s supplementation in a double-blind study.Standardized extracts of American ginseng, unlike Asian ginseng, are not known. However, dried root powder, 1–3 grams per day in capsule or tablet form, can be used. Some herbalists also recommend 3–5 ml of tincture three times per day.
Refer to label instructions
American ginseng supports the immune system and protects against microbes.
Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)
Many Native American tribes used American ginseng. Medicinal applications ranged from digestive disorders to sexual problems.1 The Chinese began to use American ginseng after it was imported during the 1700s.2 The traditional applications of American ginseng in China are significantly different from those for Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng).3
How It Works
How It Works
American ginseng contains ginsenosides, which are thought to fight fatigue and stress by supporting the adrenal glands and the use of oxygen by exercising muscles.4 The type and ratio of ginsenosides are somewhat different in American and Asian ginseng. The extent to which this affects their medicinal properties is unclear. A recent preliminary trial with healthy volunteers found no benefit in exercise performance after one week of taking American ginseng.5
In a small pilot study, 3 grams of American ginseng was found to lower the rise in blood sugar following the consumption of a drink high in glucose by people with type 2 diabetes.6 The study found no difference in blood sugar lowering effect if the herb was taken either 40 minutes before the drink or at the same time. A follow-up to this study found that increasing the amount of American ginseng to either 6 or 9 grams did not increase the effect on blood sugar following the high-glucose drink in people with type 2 diabetes.7 This study also found that American ginseng was equally effective in controlling the rise in blood sugar if it was given up to two hours before or together with the drink.
How to Use It
Standardized extracts of American ginseng, unlike Asian ginseng, are not available. However, dried root powder, 1–3 grams per day in capsule or tablet form, can be used.8 Some herbalists also recommend 3–5 ml of tincture three times per day.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
Interactions with Medicines
Certain medicines interact with this supplement.
Replenish Depleted Nutrients
Reduce Side Effects
Potential Negative Interaction
In a study of healthy human volunteers, supplementing with American ginseng reduced warfarin's anticoagulant effect, apparently by stimulating the body to accelerate the metabolism of warfarin. People taking warfarin should not take American ginseng, unless supervised by a doctor.
1. Duke J. Ginseng: A Concise Handbook. Algonac, MI: Reference Publications, 1989, 36.
2. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 358-9.
3. Bensky D, Gamble A, Kaptchuk T. Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica. Seattle: Eastland Press, 1993, 358-9.
4. Shibata S, Tanaka O, Shoji J, Saito H. Chemistry and pharmacology of Panax. Econ Med Plant Res 1:218–84.
5. Morris AC, Jacobs I, McLellan TM, et al. No ergogenic effect on ginseng ingestion. Int J Sport Nutr 1996;6:263-71.
6. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009-13.
7. Vuksan V, Sivenpiper JL, Koo VYY, et al. American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) reduces postprandial glycemia in nondiabetic subjects and subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Arch Intern Med 2000;160:1009-13.
8. Foster S. Herbs for Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 48-9.
9. Yun TK, Choi Y. Preventive effect of ginseng intake against various human cancers: A case-control study on 1987 pairs. Cancer Epidem Biomarkers Prev 1995;4:401-8.
10. Yun TK, Choi Y. Preventive effect of ginseng intake against various human cancers: A case-control study on 1987 pairs. Cancer Epidem Biomarkers Prev 1995;4:401-8.
Last Review: 05-24-2015
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The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2023.